5 Improvements & Features the iOS App Store Badly Needs
The App Store is great and all, but it could certainly use a nice tune-up and some common sense feature additions. With iOS 7 in the pipeline we’re hoping to see just that (and we’re not the only ones), so here are five things the App Store in iOS badly needs sooner than later. Whether it’s fixing stuff that drives everyone nuts or just a few common sense feature enhancements, these are high on our priority list, what’s on yours?
1: Return Apps After a Short Trial Period for a Refund
The App Store should have a simple method of returning and refunding apps, for any reason, within an allotted period of time. With the amount of knock-off junk apps out there, this seems like a no brainer, but for some reason Apple hasn’t adopted the feature. This is one thing the Android/Google Play Store does very well, which includes this ability with a reasonable clause: you have 15 minutes to try out an app and use it, then return it for a full refund. You can only buy each app once and if you buy it a second time around, you can’t return it again. Sane, reasonable, why doesn’t Apple adopt this too? Instead if you buy a knock off crap app or your 5 year old cousin goes haywire buying every single Pokemon item on the Store, you’re either stuck with it or you have to go through an indirect process to basically beg for a return by using the “Report a Problem” feature. Not good. Yes, Apple does frequently refund things due to technical issues (i.e.: no compatibility, app doesn’t work at all, etc), but this should be expanded to general refunds. It’d be more user friendly, and would probably prevent a lot of the 1 star reviews out there too.
2: Speed Up the App Store Dramatically
The App Store was given a major update with iOS 6… and now it’s so slow on some devices it’s borderline unusable. It’s slow to load, it’s slow to browse, it’s even often unresponsive and choppy when scrolling in the same way the universally lambasted first gen Kindle Fire was. This is what you see for way too long when you launch the App Store now:
Who wants to look at this for a few minutes? On an iPad 3, you’ll stare at these type of screens on every tab for a good 30 seconds each before the molasses of images slowly pours on screen. Even on a brand new iPhone 5 you’ll spend 10-20 seconds watching a grey blank “Loading…” screen. What’s the problem? Is it the new HTML5 backend? Is it just poorly optimized pages and images? Who knows, but whatever the deal is here it’s a terrible user experience and a massive step backwards from the once lightning speed of the App Store in iOS 5 and before. Remember that? When the App Store was super fast? That was good, fixing the speed issues should be high priority.
3: Search the App Store from iOS Spotlight Search
Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to use the general iOS Spotlight search to quickly find an app in the App Store? Not as a full fledged App Store search interface, but it would be great to be able to type in the name of an app and have a link to it immediately show up, maybe even with an “Install” button next to it.
Speaking of search, why not add some basic Siri support for finding and downloading apps too? Just saying “Siri, download Kayak” would be infinitely faster than launching the Slow Store, typing “Kayak”, finding it in the search results, tapping “Install”, entering the password, then waiting.
4: Ability to Ignore App Updates
We should be able to ignore app updates if we don’t want to install them. Perhaps with a simple and now familiar swipe sideways gesture like you can for deleting music or photos.
I let my iPad collect some dust for a few weeks and suddenly I have 84 app updates awaiting. I can’t install them all if I wanted to because everything ends up getting stuck on “Waiting…” and I don’t want to do the manual tap and re-tap fix for 84 individual apps stored across multiple home screen pages and stuffed in different folders. Frankly, I don’t want to update 84 apps anyway, and I know I’m not the only one holding onto the now ancient version of Twitter app for iPad to avoid the redesigned mess. Sometimes older versions of apps are just better, and it’d be nice to be able to stay put without updates accumulating that we don’t want. We have the ability to ignore updates in the Mac App Store, why not have it on iOS too?
5: Stop Bugging Us For a Password All The Time
Entering the Apple ID password every single time you want to download an app is annoying. This was supposedly resolved in iOS 6, but for some reason it just doesn’t seem to work on some devices.
This is either a bug, or a reluctance to store the password beyond a minute, maybe because there are no such thing as easy refunds. Asking for a password makes sense if someone else is using the same device, but if you’re the primary ‘trusted’ owner/user, it’s just frustrating.
Got any ideas for how to improve the App Store experience? What needs changing? What could be better? Chime in the comments with your own ideas and, maybe, just maybe Apple will listen!